Villanova Gets No. 1 Seed in NCAA Tournament; Temple Out
After a 32-2 season, Villanova received the No. 1 seed in the East Region of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats will play Lafayette, winners of the Patriot League, on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
But the bubble burst for Temple, which was left out of the 68-team field by the selection committee. They’re a No. 1 seed in the NIT, and will host Bucknell at the Liacouras Center on North Broad on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Villanova won its first 13 games and lost only two games all season — both on the road to Seton Hall and Georgetown. The Wildcats won their final 15 contests, 11 of them by double digits. Per Ken Pomeroy’s popular rating system, they have the 4th-best offense and 13th-best defense in the country. They’re fourth in the RPI. Despite recent tournament struggles, the Wildcats are a strong national title contender — though another team called the Wildcats, Kentucky, is undoubtedly the favorite.
— BIG EAST MBB (@BIGEASTMBB) March 15, 2015
Lafayette is in its first NCAA tournament since 2000. The Leopards are coached by Fran O’Hanlon, a Philadelphia native who formerly coached Monsignor Bonner High School and was an assistant coach at Penn. He is in his 20th season as coach at Lafayette.
The Leopards (20-12) finished fourth in the Patriot League but defeated sixth-seeded American in the tournament final to claim a berth in the Big Dance. Senior forward Dan Trist takes a whopping 32 percent of Lafayette’s possessions, per Pomeroy, and averages 17.3 points a game.
UCLA is the team many are saying shouldn’t be included in the tournament, but the Bruins weren’t even one of the last four in. Temple had eight top-100 wins in the RPI, the formula the selection committee uses to rate teams. But their signature win, a blowout victory over Kansas at the Wells Fargo Center, wasn’t enough to put the Owls in the tournament.
Here’s an official printable bracket from the NCAA so you can gamble on these unpaid athletes and possibly make money from them. Hey, just like the NCAA!
Follow @dhm on Twitter.